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The government is playing dumb in its public statements on the "leak hysteria" in Washington:

We have tried more leak cases — brought more leak cases during the course of this administration than any other administration,” Mr. Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I was getting hammered by the left for that only two weeks ago. Now I’m getting hammered by the right for potentially not going after leaks. It makes for an interesting dynamic.”
Surely Attorney General Eric Holder knows the difference between high-level administration officials leaking to the media (or Hollywood!?!) for political gain, and whistleblowers disclosing government waste, fraud, abuse or illegality. But, Holder's obtuse statement deliberately obfuscates the administration's hypocritical policy on so-called "leaks." No doubt because the Justice Department has broken a record prosecuting whistleblowers, while ignoring high-level leaks for political gain.

Unfortunately many in the main stream media (MSM) have been more than willing to perpetuate the confusion by reporting that the Espionage Act prosecutions and pressure to go after high-level leaks are about the same types of disclosures.  

The MSM should recognize that the issue is not the need for more than six Espionage Act prosecutions, but for the Obama administration to stop the blatant hypocrisy of criminally prosecuting low and mid-level officials, while simultaneously feeding the media secrets that serve as pro-administration talking points.

Holder's whine about being called out on hypocrisy is almost as bad as the administration's double-speak on its war on whistleblowers, which essentially boils down to:  

The Espionage Act prosecutions were an accident, but we want credit for them.

The New York Times reported:

Under fire from Republicans who claim that the White House has leaked classified information to make him look tough, President Obama has pointed to his administration’s unmatched record in prosecuting leaks.  . . . Even Mr. Obama’s attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., whose Justice Department has pursued five of the six cases, was surprised by news reports pointing out that the number of cases was unprecedented, colleagues said. He has told associates that he has no desire for leak prosecutions to be his legacy.
The MSM needs to stop perpetuating the Obama administration's far-from-credible premise that even though the administration unintentionally brought a record-breaking number of "leak" prosecutions, the administration should get credit for being tough on leaks and not have to pursue any more. The MSM should quit buying Holder's, "We didn't do anything on purpose . . . but haven't we done enough?" meme.

The disclosures that the Justice Department has not prosecuted are leaks that give the Obama administration good press -  like the Osama Bin Laden raid - or leaks make the Obama administration look tough on terrorism - like the Terror Tuesday meetings where officials debate which people to kill next - or leaks that give the Obama administration the chance to defend its policies - like the leak of the existence of a Justice Department memo "authorizing" the killing of an American citizen without charge or trial, a leak originally credited to anonymous "administration officials."

The first losers are the criminally-prosecuted whistleblowers upon whose backs the high-level officials who leak for political gain can go unaccountable (because, as Holder said, "we've brought more leak cases than any other administration"). The whistleblowers (some of them my clients) the Justice Department has pursued criminally include:

Shamai Leibowitz - FBI translator who disclosed information to a blogger because of his all-too-real fear that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran, a move his saw as potentially disastrous.

Tom Drake - NSA senior executive who disclosed what turned out to be (contrary to the government's assertions) unclassified information about a failed and wasteful multi-billion dollar NSA domestic spying program that compromised Americans' privacy.

Steven Kim - State Department arms expert accused of disclosing that North Korea was planning to respond to a U.N. Security Council resolution by setting off a nuclear test.

Jeff Sterling - CIA officer who accused of revealing a bothched program in which we gave flawed nuclear design information to Iran.  But the flaw was so obvious, Iran detected the ruse, and in the process we turned over actual useful nuclear secrets.

John Kiriakou - CIA officer who disclosed that torture was a policy and not a rogue improvisation, and that waterboarding is torture. He's accused of revealing to Gitmo detainee lawyers the identity of one of the officers who tortured the detainees.

Bradley Manning - Army private who allegedly revealed what he thought (and no one has disagreed that the "Collateral Murder" video showed) were war crimes.

The next losers will be the MSM, who will be left with nothing but Executive branch talking points when their other sources are intimidated into silence, and then Americans will be an even less-informed citizenry and less equipped to question government actions.  

UPDATE: If the Obama administration really cared about stopping leaks, it would keep its promise to push for meaningful whistleblower protections for intelligence community employees. Same goes for the congressional Intelligence committees who would support the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) (HR 3289, S 743) if they were truly committed to stopping leaks. WPEA would give a meaningful start to whistleblower protections for intelligence community employees, who currently have no rights when they are retaliated against for blowing the whistle on government waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (25+ / 0-)

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:38:35 AM PDT

  •  It's hard to know who to root for (12+ / 0-)

    Eric Holder, under fire from wingnuts and Fox News, or the wingnuts who appear to be the only way to rid us of this amazingly incompetent and venal AG.  Six Espionage Act prosecutions of whistleblowers, and none of banksters for blowing up the economy?  Going after marijuana dispensaries and ignoring mortgage fraud?

    Hard to tell if Holder or Tim Geithner is worse, but the common features of their awfulness do not speak well of their boss' intentions.

    When Free Speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have Free Speech.

    by Dallasdoc on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:53:40 AM PDT

  •  2 whistleblowers, 3 leakers, one traitor imo. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell, stellaluna

    TD and JK definitely seem to be wrongly-prosecuted whistleblowers under a reasonable standard of the definition and its difference between that and "leaking".

    SL, SK, and JS...not at all their place release the info to the general public. There was NO general public interest in leaking information that was speculative, predictive, or otherwise unhelpful except to gin up hysteria and diplomatic drama. You don't just get to leak stuff because you're "worried".

    BM should be tried for treason and found not guilty for reasons of mental instability...he DUMPED 1,000's of pieces of classified information, and got lucky when there was one video of US troops making a big mistake...and then bragged about it online. As an American though, I deeply regret his apparent mistreatment while in prison.

    •  I disagree, but the number of prosecutions (12+ / 0-)

      of high level government officials is 0, as is the number of prosecutions of government officials who engaged in the wrongdoing the whistleblowers revealed, and that speaks volumes.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:36:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bradley Manning is not a traitor, he's a hero. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, JVolvo

      The Wikileaks dump revealed so many things to the world.

      Such as our State Department threatening the Europeans if they went forward with their banning of Monsanto's products. Whom does our government work for again????

      The revelation of War Crimes, the cover-up and the lies must be presented to us, the American people.  Without the facts we cannot assess the job we hired them to do.

      With the most recent Court Order, the impact of these revelations may finally come out...

      Judge Denise Lind ruled that prosecutors would have to turn over reports from the CIA, the FBI, the State Department and the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive that assessed the impact of the leaks.

      Manning's lawyers believe the assessments will show the disclosures had no major effect on the country's national security and did not "aid the enemy" as the government alleges.

      And our Constitution states specifically what Treason is:

      Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
      Was he levying war against the US?

      Was he "adhering" to the US government's declared enemies? Those enemies now being the American people, perhaps???

      Was he giving Aid & Comfort??? Unless of course you define information the American people need to know as "Aid & Comfort."

      I must ask: How do you define traitor??? Keeping in mind this is the one crime that IS defined in our Constitution.

      Is it traitorous to tell the truth now? To tell the American people what their government is shamefully doing???

      I do not.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:39:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gerrilea, your post here can be seen worldwide. (0+ / 0-)

        The internet is bigger than just the US. I think that covers "adhering" right there.

        Of course, it's your opinion on what we "need to know" because obviously you can tell that even on DKos, there is stark disagreement on the use of drones to conduct operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, for instance. "Shameful" is a qualitative opinion, not a fact.

         I respect your difference in opinion.

        •  You haven't defined anything...making a claim (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, BradyB, JVolvo

          that others "worldwide" can see or read something that our government has done is in no way "adhering."  That's your opinion, not constitutional law. Seriously, the actions we take against other nations, they ALREADY KNOW, because it effects them directly.

          Come now, it's like reporting in the local newspaper that Officer X shot and killed Mr. Smith spurring outrage from family members.

          The people effected by the officer's actions, do know it happened, so you'd equate telling the masses of officer's X's actions is equal to treason.  It is not.

          Do we not need to know the illegal and immoral crimes committed by our paid servants?  If they don't want bad things said about them, the answer is simple, don't do those things.

          Please, if you truly have respect for our difference of opinion, then define treason, in your opinion.

          Treason is not what our government says it is, they don't get to define this crime...we did it already for them.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:59:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Power grab by executive branch and military (10+ / 0-)

    The executive is doing things that we fought a revolutionary war to overcome. E.g., detention without charges. Wait, that goes back hundreds of years earlier.

    And the security state along with the military garner a huge portion of the budget and with the help of the executive branch have classified record numbers of documents.

    I was worried sick about this back in 2006 when W. Bush was president.

    Sad to see it continue.

    This post concerns the obvious blurring of the lines about leaks and whistle blowing. This is being done for propaganda reasons. As long as we live in fear from the greatest menace in our history, terrorism, which itself is an undefined term, we will continue to loose our freedom and our government.

    •  Lack of accountability (8+ / 0-)

      The Obama administration's refusal to hold Bush administration officials accountable for things like torture, extraordinary rendition and warrantless wiretapping sets a terrible precedent for future presidents: that they can violate the constitution and suffer no consequences.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:09:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it all that surprising though? (0+ / 0-)

        Precedent was already set years ago with Nixon

        --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

        by idbecrazyif on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:39:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sad to see it continue. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, aliasalias, JVolvo

      as am I. Troubling times we live in.

      And I will not be sorry to see Holder go - if that is the outcome, perhaps we might actually get an AG that will prosecute - oh maybe even some of those Wall Streeters who took us over the cliff......and stop the war on whistleblowers.

      Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

      by allenjo on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:50:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Went to a talk by a US Attorney (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He said that if a lawyer says you can do something (e.g. torture memo), then you can do it, and the lawyer isn't legally liable either. He also said that it's too hard to prosecute banksters who ordered systematic financial fraud, although he thought it would happen. Nice system we got here.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:02:37 AM PDT

    •  One wonders when? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, gerrilea, JVolvo

      He also said that it's too hard to prosecute banksters who ordered systematic financial fraud, although he thought it would happen.

      Who would have thought back in September 2008 that we would be here in June 2012 and no investigations, no one charged, nada, nothing, zip, zilch for those who destroyed the economy?

      That whistleblowers would be charged under the archaic espionage law and "things like torture, extraordinary rendition and warrantless wiretapping" would be ignored......

      Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

      by allenjo on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:55:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what a lawyer, you can't advise (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, BradyB

      someone to commit a criminal act (legally) and having a lawyer say it's legal doesn't make it legal.
      It would be interesting if someone asked that attorney what if two different lawyers wrote different advice on an act. Which one is legal to act upon?

      Also that statement about not being able to prosecute the banksters because of it being hard is nonsense, especially considering a Senate committee found "widespread fraud " by the banksters, and that is something many others 'officially' discovered. No doubts.

      That attorney sounds like a Repub from Liberty Univ., law degree or no law degree it's hogwash to basically say the word of a lawyer makes actions legal and that he, or she is beyond prosecuting.

      Then again, I do need money... so I should call my lawyer friend and get the ok to rob a bank, I'll make sure he gets part of the money to celebrate because I'm sure he'll want part of the credit.
      Maybe I'm reading your comment wrong but that atty. makes no sense unless she, or he, was talking about how some things have been treated by the Bush and Obama administrations where they both sought out legal opinions they wanted, discarding the opposing views.

      (Just out of curiosity,what's that attorney's name?)

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:15:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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